The Haunted Stanley Hotel, Estes Park Colorado

It is a fantastic ride through Big Thompson Canyon to reach the small town of Estes Park, Colorado. The canyon road parallels a rushing river, and sharply twists and turns around many blind corners. Open runs through wide mountain passes lead to narrow passes with vertical canyon walls on each side. It is a thrilling ride with great scenery. Finally, the canyon opens to reveal Estes Park, the home of the haunted Stanley Hotel.

My favourite ride, with the hotel in back!
The Stanley is famously haunted thanks to the television program Ghost Hunters, who conducted a paranormal investigation there. Additionally, several celebrity guests of the hotel have reported ghostly activities during their stays. Visiting the Stanley was a long term goal of mine and I was looking forward to touring the hotel.

The Stanley Hotel
Alex, our tour guide did a great job leading our group through all four floors of the hotel, as well as the basement. We learned the hotel's full history and Alex told a number of entertaining ghost stories. One involved author Stephen King's stay at the Stanley, which inspired King's best seller, The Shining. Another intriguing story involved actor/comedian, Jim Carey who was spooked out of room 217 (one of the hotel's most active rooms) while filming the movie Dumb and Dumber. BTW, the "staircase race" scene from that movie was filmed at the Stanley.

Alex telling a ghost story
It was disappointing that our late afternoon group did not encounter any ghostly activity during the 90 minute tour. I paid close attention for knocks, ghost voices, or anything paranormal, but there was nothing. Alex told us sometimes the ghosts cooperate during the tours, but sometimes they don't. Regardless, the Stanley tour is time well spent, and I strongly recommend it, if you visit the Estes Park area. Following the tour, I visited the hotel's formal dining room where the food and service were absolutely fantastic with very reasonable prices. After several days of eating fast food while on the road, this meal was exactly what I needed!!

See those elk in the background
Leaving the hotel, I spotted several elk on the grounds and tried to get a picture without spooking them. A short time later, riding near Rocky Mountain National Park, I found three elk walking abreast on the left lane of the two lane road. I slowly edged the KLR way over to the right  and we passed without incident. The animals were close enough that I could have reached out and touched the nearest of them. But, the elk behaved themselves and I did the same. We only exchanged curious looks as we passed. When you are that close, elk are very big animals and the KLR is a very small motorcycle.

Here are a few more pictures from the Stanley Hotel...

The main lobby
Stairs to second floor
This men's room felt creepy (my imagination?) so I took this picture